Krak lets out an "Oooooo!" at the sight of a huge-ass vehicle blocking the drive to the Morelay Estate, and gushes how she used to ride around in something similar during her life in the circus, but she "didn't know they had those on this planet." Bang-Bang explains that they're looking at an ultra-deluxe motor home, converted from a Greyhound bus to make a two-story housemobile. See, you use the luggage space for your ground floor, and build up from there. The Countess asks if Bang-Bang knows how to drive it, and I get the foreboding feeling that Heller and Krak will soon have an additional super-luxurious vehicle to waste a chapter or two describing in aching detail before never using again.
They slip past the parked behemoth and find a sprawling mansion, as well as "a very butler-type butler" to let them in, having been forewarned of their arrival by a call from the friendly service station manager, who you'll recall was a "service station manager type." The manor's interior is decorated with "broadaxes, battle-axes, and headsmen's axes," because when psychology isn't about phallic imagery it's about slicing off phallic imagery. Krak takes out a blank card and sprays some mysterious something on it, just before the butler-type butler introduces them to Miss Agnes.
The good doctor is "dressed like a Harley Street doctor would be dressed," in a black suit, graying hair in a severe bun, and glasses on a black silk ribbon. Miss Agnes immediately launches into a tirade about what an insult the leviathan mobile home is, "an outright bald hint that I take myself away," and how badly parked it is. When she demands her delivery money back, Krak instead hands over the blank card.
The woman held it close to her face.
The Countess Krak said, "There's nothing on that card, is there?"
"Then you wouldn't mind if I put this helmet on your head, will you?"
And Krak puts a hypnohelmet on the other woman, helping Agnes lay down onto a convenient couch. See, she doused that card with more bottled Voltarian magic, an Eyes and Ears of Voltar perfume that "made the person say no to everything and was intended to protect chastity." Unless the other guy is clever and asks "do you not want to take off your pants and get freaky?" of course.
Wait... she said no to "wouldn't mind," so she would mind if Krak put the helmet on her... so does the perfume read intent or syntax? Like regardless of how the other person phrases the question, if you don't want to go along with it the smell forces you to comply? Or does the smell patch into your understanding of grammar and slang to... this is so stupid. Stupid. Bloody stupid. Just have her pull a gun or slap the helmet onto her head instead of getting into this nonsense. Stupid.
Gris wails about the sacrilege of forcing a psychiatrist onto her own couch, while Krak starts grilling Agnes on various things. She asks what Agnes is upset about, and is told about the lack of reward, she wants "Money, money, money, money!" Krak asks why Agnes is due a reward, and we get a steaming bucket of backstory poured down the back of our shirts.
"The Rockecenters have a sacred charge from Goebbels to render all other races incapable of defending themselves against Hitler. The Germans may have lost the war but this did not nullify the sacred trust.
"Even though the guys who I was supposed to be paving the way for were no longer around, that was no reason to stop undermining everyone's ability to resist this threat that, again, no longer existed."
As a psychiatrist and psychologist, knowing my debt to Germany for those vital subjects, I have forwarded them with dedication. The Rockecenters advocated worldwide population reduction for generations. It is a sacred family trust and I have carried it on. With every possible trick I could devise I have made Delbert John Rockecenter carry out his family commitments. Utilizing the Rockecenter control of the World Federation of Mental Stealth,
That is still an achingly stupid name.
I have spread far and wide the doctrine of Psychiatric Birth Control.
"Far and wide" meaning "the people at Octopus Oil."
And for Delbert John Rockecenter himself, personally, I caused him to found the foundations which, with glandular operations and drugs, have made him immortal."
So there you have it: psychology, homosexuality, even Rockecenter's cartel? All a Nazi plot to destroy their enemies. And it all comes down to this one woman. Also, Rockecenter is immortal now.
Funny how Gris' lessons in Rockecenter family history back in Book Three didn't mention the whole "working for the Nazis" thing.
"Is there anything else for which you should be rewarded?"
The body on the couch did a small writhe. The voice was muffled but it carried hate. "I listen to his puking drivel about watching chorus girls go to the toilet and making Miss Peace exhibit herself to him while she pees until I could simply strangle him."
The Countess Krak, oddly, has no reaction to Rockecenter's interest in watersports - which raises a few interesting implications about what's considered mainstream sexual practices on Voltar - but instead mutters about "Where there is this much hate, there must have been love." She asks Agnes about a son, and the psychiatrist goes ballistic, ranting about what a "disaster" it would be if the guy who owned the planet was forced to give up a ten billion dollar trust fund, so "THERE IS NO SON! THERE MUST NEVER BE A SON!"
Krak repeats her question, and Agnes admits that okay, there might have been a son.
Although he's impotent now, once upon a time Delbert John Rockecenter was an eligible bachelor, and Miss Agnes decided to marry him (for his money). She studied psychology to learn how to properly seduce him (this being before psychology was turning everyone gay), and even saved herself for marriage because that's evidently important. But imagine her surprise when Rockecenter went and ran off to marry a chorus girl, 'cause he got high (bah-dah-duh-dum-dum-dum).
So she swallowed her pride and worked for the Rockecenters, and arranged for the pregnant woman to be hidden with her family in the Catskills, and even though the Rockecenters are like totally ruthless and willing to kill family members in the name of money, and a male Rockecenter heir (but not a female!) would be eligible to inherit a share of the fortune, they decided to buy the girl's family's silence instead of killing them in the name of money.
Then Miss Agnes forced the doctor who would deliver the baby to ensure that the child came down with "natural causes," while its mother was arranged to die of shock after learning of the death of her family in an "auto accident." And the talent agent said "wow, so what do you call that act?" And I said, "Mission Earth!"
But there you have it - everything's the Nazis' fault, through their instrument of Miss Agnes. Rockecenter potentially had a child delivered eighteen years ago in Hamden County, Virginia, but Agnes is sure it was killed.
Gris ends the chapter cooing over Lombar Hisst's brilliance in picking an identity for Heller that would get "the Rockecenter Angels of Death swarming." With the obvious downside that if those swarming Angels of Death proved insufficient, Heller would be handed an identity as successor to the richest, most powerful man on the planet. So the cunning plan will either kill the guy, or give him more than enough resources to accomplish the mission we don't want him to accomplish.
Back to Chapter One